There’s a lot of fine drama for autumn in West Yorkshire’s theatres.
Our round-up highlights nine of the best shows on offer – from a new adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s Villette (as part of a season marking the 200th anniversary of the novelist’s birth) to the latest comedy by British playwright John Godber.
Choose from Kay Mellor’s examination of family life in A Passionate Woman; the classic Tale of Two Cities; chilling ghost story The Woman in Black, and much more.
So why not mark the nights drawing in and the seasons changing with a night of drama?
Here's nine shows not to miss:
Invisible Friends and Woman in Mind
Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, September 13 to 17.
Dick & Lottie is the Huddersfield-based company made up of both amateur actors and those with a professional background. It exists to produce Alan Ayckbourn plays and this season is offering not just one but two gems from the pen of the famous playwright. They have been chosen because both feature a protagonist who creates an
imaginary family to escape her real one. Invisible Friends examines what happens when an imaginary family becomes worse than a real one; while Woman in Mind tells the story of a woman who starts to hallucinate following an accident with a garden rake. Tickets are priced at £12 for each performance (or £20 for both plays) from www.thelbt.org.uk or 01484 430528.
Charlotte Bronte’s Villette
West Yorkshire Playhouse Courtyard Theatre, Leeds, September 24 to October 15
The classic novel is daringly re-imagined by Linda Marshall-Griffith for the Bronte Season at the theatre. In the new futuristic version the heroine arrives at an archaeological site where a team is digging for the remains of the Lady of Villette. Can she find a cure for the next pandemic and save humanity? The contemporary Yorkshire writer echoes the illness and loss that wracked Charlotte’s short life and explores the redemptive power of love. Tickets are £13.50 to £30 from wyp.org.uk, 0113 2137700.
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Quarry Theatre, September 28 to October 15
The Tony award-winning thriller by Anthony Shaffer tells the story of a mystery writer who lures his wife’s lover to his country house and persuades him to take part in a challenge. But their power struggle descends into a deadly duel of wits, leaving a tangled mystery for Inspector Doppler to investigate. Shaffer’s work has been described as ‘cunning’ and ‘clever’ and challenges audiences with its suspense and ingenuity. This production stars Royal Shakespeare Company actor Miles Richardson and ex-EastEnders actor James Alexandrou. Tickets are £13.50 to £30 from wyp.org.uk, 0113 2137700.
A Tale of Two Cities
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, October 4 to 8
Charles Dickens’ classic ‘best of times, worst of times’ novel enjoys a period production with original music by Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman. It has been hailed as a ‘lean, punchy’ adaptation of the story of love and sacrifice set during the French Revolution and is directed by James Dacre. Tickets are from £18.50 from bradford-theatres.co.uk, 01274 432000.
This Might Hurt
Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, October 13 to 15
When actor jack Skipton returns from filming to care for his ageing aunt he finds himself in a world of NHS appointments, wrongly-booked scans, abusive home carers and coping with a relative who refuses to admit she’s even ill. In this new play, one of Britain’s most successful living playwrights, John Godber, takes on the health service, poking fun at what he can, and tenderly exposing its deficiencies. Tickets are £10 to £17 from www.thelbt.org or 01484 430528.
A Passionate Woman
Lawrence Batley Theatre, Syngenta Cellar, Huddersfield, October 18 to 22
Huddersfield Thespians tackle the Kay Mellor play about a woman who finds herself torn between a husband she’s never loved, a son who is about to get married, and a man she had a passionate affair with more than 30 years previously. An exploration of family life with Mellor’s
observational skills at their best.
Tickets are £12 from www.thelbt.org or 01484 430528.
The Woman in Black
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Quarry Theatre, October 25 to 29
Susan Hill’s best-selling ghost story is brought to life on stage by Stephen Mallatratt. It was a spooky film, so now be prepared to experience eerie marshes and groaning winds in the theatre. A lawyer, obsessed with a curse and the spectre of a woman in black, engages a young actor to help him exorcise his fears – with catastrophic effect. Tickets are £13.50 to £30 from wyp.org.uk, 0113 2137700.
French Without Tears
Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield, November 16 to 18
The English Touring Theatre and Orange Tree Theatre production of the 1936 Terence Rattigan comedy takes a group of young men to French School to cram for their diplomatic exam. But as they begin their studies they encounter the distraction of girls, love and a confusion of complicated relationships. Prepare for Englishmen speaking French badly (a la ‘Allo ‘Allo) and a lot of hilarity. The run at the Orange Tree Theatre proved to be a sell-out and was critically acclaimed.
Tickets are £10 to £19 from www.thelbt.org, 01484 430528.
When We Are Married
Viaduct Theatre, Dean Clough, Halifax, November 29 to December 10
This JB Priestley play is the latest classic to be tackled by Calderdale’s Northern Broadsides and will, no doubt, be another success for the popular company. Those who can’t wait for its arrival in Halifax at the end of an autumn tour can see it at the West Yorkshire Playhouse from October 18 to 22. The comedy, first performed in 1938, centres on the discovery by three couples, celebrating their silver anniversaries, that they were never legally married in the first place.
Cue for much shock and horror – and re-evaluations of said ‘marriages’. The revival production is a partnership with York Theatre Royal. Tickets £15.50 to £17. Visit www.deanclough.com for details.